Living with back pain isn’t easy. The good news is that getting a little natural relief isn’t a hard thing to do. All you need is a yoga mat and a few minutes of free time!
Whether you’re experiencing back pain because of a job that requires you to sit long hours, arthritic conditions or a sports-related issue, gentle stretches like yoga poses can be a good way to stretch the muscles in your hamstrings, back and core and work on easing your back pain.
Always check with your physician before beginning a new exercise regimen to ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your body.
Standing forward bend
Begin by standing on your mat with your hands on your hips. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, bend forward from your hip joints, lengthening your torso as you bend forward towards your knees. If you’re flexible enough, bring your palms or fingertips to the floor without bending your knees. If you can’t reach down that far, that’s okay! You can also bring your palms down to the back of your ankles. For an even gentler approach, just cross your arms and hold your elbows while bending forward as best you can without bending your knees. Remain in the stretch up to one minute before releasing the pose. When you’re ready to come back up, put your hands on your hips and slowly return to standing.
Cat & Cow
To begin the cat pose, come down onto your hands and knees (table pose). Round your back and let your head drop down, tucking your tailbone under. Hold the pose for up to eight breaths, then move into cow. This time, instead of tucking the tailbone, you're going to reach it up toward the ceiling and arch your back upward. Let your abdomen drop down and look up toward the ceiling, but don't strain. Hold the pose for up to eight breaths and repeat the cat/cow cycle a couple more times.
Since you’ve just done cat & cow, you’re poised to move into downward facing dog.
Beginning on your hands and knees, your hands should line up with your shoulders, shoulder-width apart. The insides of your elbows should be pointing toward the opposite side of the mat. Your fingers should be spread wide, pointing toward the top of your mat. Press your hips up and back and lift up through the base of your spine, keeping the spine straight. Your feet should be hip width apart. Press your heels toward the floor and feel a good stretch in the hamstrings and calves. It's okay if your heels don't touch the floor. We're all different. Let your head hang freely or look toward the navel. Hold the pose for up to eight breaths, then return your knees to the floor. You can rest here, move down into child's pose, or move on to the next pose:
Head-to-knee forward bend
Begin seated on your mat. If you need to, you can add a blanket to sit on. Your legs should be extended, straight in front of you. As you inhale, bend your left knee and bring it in toward your right inner thigh. Exhale and bend forward gently and slowly, lengthening your torso as you reach forward. Your elbows should bend out to the sides and away from the floor. Your belly, chest and head should come down toward your leg, in that order. Breathe through this pose anywhere from 1-3 minutes before coming back up and switching sides.
After the seated head to knee, you can lay down on your mat and take a break. To begin the supine twist, lay on your back with your feet straight out in front of you. Stretch your arms to the sides of your body. Beginning with your right leg, bend and bring the knee up over the left leg at the knee. Turn your head to the right and look toward your right hand, in the opposite direction of your bent knee. Feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and hold the pose for 1-3 minutes. Bring your head back to center and your leg back to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side of your body.
Once you’re done, you can relax in corpse pose (called savasana in Sanskrit). Simply lie on your back with your arms at your sides with your eyes closed and relax for a few minutes. Enjoy the benefits of your yoga routine. Stay as long as you like before going about your day.
If conservative measures including exercise, improved nutrition, stretching and yoga combined with over-the-counter pain relievers have done little to ease your back pain, it may be time to consult a specialist. If you’re looking for a provider that can diagnose and treat your neck or back pain, call Back Pain Centers of America (BPC) today at 844.201.1308. We can match you with an expert provider who can provide the treatment you deserve!
Video: Stretches for Back Pain Relief, How to Stretch Routine, Beginners Home Yoga